Trending: Conference Finals

PJHL Media

After an idle Saturday night and a return to action in both conferences Sunday, we have look at where things stand as the PJHL is poised to see its Stonehouse Cup Finals matchup set.

Ridge Meadows could punch their ticket tonight after putting a stranglehold on things Sunday at Chilliwack. Before we get there, let’s dig a bit below the surface.

Streak Snapped – Before the playoffs, the last time the Richmond Sockeyes came out on the short end of a result, it was pre-Halloween and a 3-2 shootout loss to the Abbotsford Pilots. That came eight days after a shutout loss to Delta, who is providing the opposition in the Tom Shaw Conference finals. But after the setback to the Pilots, the Sockeyes reeled off 31 wins in a row to complete the regular season. They then won five straight to start the playoffs to make it a 36-game heater before Delta put an end to that in Game 2 on March 5. Richmond rebounded to win Game 3, a goal fest settled in overtime where the Ice Hawks continued to show that scoring against the league’s top team has not been an issue so far. Delta outscored Richmond 16-15 over the first three games, perhaps chipping away at the veneer of invincibility the Sockeyes have earned this season. Ice Hawks’ d-man Yuji Akimoto had points in each of the first three games of the conference finals while Mateo Sjoberg had three points in each of Game 1 andΒ  3 while being held scoreless in Games 2 and 4.

Lin-sanityTeo Lin has gotten it done in all ways so far in the postseason for the Sockeyes, scoring twice shorthanded while also piling up five of his playoffs-leading 18 points on the man advantage. It’s no real surprise as Lin was a threat in all phases of the game in the regular season as well, finishing 11th in PJHL scoring and tied for second in shorties. In his most recent action, he almost singlehandedly rallied his team from a two-goal deficit. Lin got Richmond on the board in the second and then set up two shorthanded tallies by Nicholas Noren on the same penalty kill to complete the comeback. In the see-saw battle Game 3, where Richmond was down three, up three and then won it in OT, Lin scored with Richmond down a man and set up a power-play tally two minutes later. He has nine points through four games against Delta and would be tied for the playoff lead in scoring on his assists alone (13).

Jets Fuel? – Chilliwack is the only team of the final four who didn’t sweep in the conference semifinals, meaning they’ve played the most of any team still in the hunt for the Stonehouse Cup. The Jets went the distance against the Langley Trappers, coming from behind in Game 7 for a narrow victory. Goals have been hard to come by for the Jets; the bulk of their roster has now played 10 games in the playoffs, but none of them have more than six points. The goaltending of Brayden Melnyk was key in the series against Langley as he played every minute and registered a .928 save percentage and 1.97 goals-against average yet didn’t see the ice in the first two games against Ridge Meadows. He started Game 3 and wound up having to give way for a relief appearance from FrΓ©dΓ©rick Laroc

BC Junior A Picture – In the KIJHL, eight teams are still alive including top regular-season finishers Princeton and Revelstoke. In the VIJHL, Comox Valley and Kerry Park will go at it in one division final while in the other, Victoria and Saanich just began their best-of-seven on Sunday. The KIJHL’s Kimberley Dynamiters will be the other team involved in the Junior A Championship, as they host the four-team event April 18 to 21 at the Civic Centre in Kimberley.